China on Friday urged the United States to immediately withdraw a decision on a meeting between President Barack Obama and exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, Xinhua news agency reported.
The White House has defied angry Chinese protests and said Obama would meet the Dalai Lama next week, just as he seeks Beijing's help in imposing tough new sanctions on Iran.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said Beijing was urging the US to immediately withdraw the decision, Xinhua reported.
Despite political pressure at home, Obama avoided meeting the Dalai Lama when the Buddhist monk was in Washington last year, in an apparent bid to set relations off on a good foot with Beijing early in his presidency.
Obama, however, told Chinese leaders during his trip to Beijing in November that he planned to meet with the Dalai Lama, who is widely respected in the United States but branded a separatist by Beijing.
Obama also knows Chinese support is vital if he is to succeed in winning unanimous backing at the UN Security Council for the tough regime of sanctions he wants to impose on Iran for stepping up its suspect nuclear work.
Next week's meeting in Washington comes at a time when relations have already soured over the sale of a $6.4 billion package of US weapons to Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a Chinese territory to be reunified by force if necessary.